: During this oral history interview, Ernest Blackwelder discusses the Blackwelder Manufacturing Company, whose work focused on the development of tomato harvesters, sugar beet harvesters, and other agricultural equipment. He also talks about the UC Blackwelder tomato harvester. In 1949, UC Davis agricultural engineer Coby Lorenzen and UC Davis vegetable crops researcher Jack Hanna began work on developing a harvester and a tomato variety that could withstand the rigors of mechanical picking. During the 1950s, the UC Davis team refined the experimental harvester and in 1959 Blackwelder Manufacturing of Rio Vista, California commercialized the design. The tomato harvester is said to have saved California’s processed tomato industry in the 1960s.Rights
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